Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Julie's Review: Don't Let Go


Author: Harlan Coben
Series: None
Publication Date: September 26, 2017
Publisher: Dutton
Pages: 368
Obtained: Library
Genre:  Mystery
Rating: 5/5
Bottom Line: Never, ever a let down from Mr. Coben
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Summary: Suburban New Jersey Detective Napoleon “Nap” Dumas hasn't been the same since senior year of high school, when his twin brother Leo and Leo’s girlfriend Diana were found dead on the railroad tracks—and Maura, the girl Nap considered the love of his life, broke up with him and disappeared without explanation. For fifteen years, Nap has been searching, both for Maura and for the real reason behind his brother's death. And now, it looks as though he may finally find what he's been looking for. When Maura's fingerprints turn up in the rental car of a suspected murderer, Nap embarks on a quest for answers that only leads to more questions—about the woman he loved, about the childhood friends he thought he knew, about the abandoned military base near where he grew up, and mostly about Leo and Diana—whose deaths are darker and far more sinister than Nap ever dared imagine. ~amazon.com

Review: Honestly, every time I pick up a book from Mr. Coben I'm not disappointed and he's done it again with Don't Let Go. Nap is a character that you will like even if some of his actions are questionable but he's a great detective. This time the case is personal when the prints of his long-ago girlfriend show up at a crime scene where a cop is killed.

Nap has never gotten over the fact that his girlfriend from 15 years ago disappeared into thin air right after his brother died. He's never really bought the story that his brother and his girlfriend committed suicide together, something always nagged at him about it. So when cops from Philly show up to question him about why he put Maura's fingerprints into the national system, Nap is pulled back into the mystery that shrouded her disappearance years ago.

As Nap starts to ask questions and un-bury long harbored secrets, he begins to find out that things aren't always what they seem and some conspiracy's are not only true but sometimes wilder than the theory itself.

It's not that the outcome is shocking or that there are a bunch of "shoe dropping" moments but its the story telling by Mr. Coben that solidifies this novel as one of my favorite of 2017. He makes you care about the characters, what happens to them and the resolution of the mystery.

If you haven't read Harlan Coben, Don't Let Go is a great stand alone to start with and then work your way through his back list.



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Monday, December 11, 2017

Julie's Review: Hello, Sunshine


Author: Laura Dave
Series: None
Publication Date: July 11, 2017
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 256
Obtained: publisher
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 3.75/5
Bottom Line: A good read about being true to yourself
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Summary: Sunshine Mackenzie has it all…until her secrets come to light. Sunshine Mackenzie is living the dream—she’s a culinary star with millions of fans, a line of #1 bestselling cookbooks, and a devoted husband happy to support her every endeavor. And then she gets hacked. When Sunshine’s secrets are revealed, her fall from grace is catastrophic. She loses the husband, her show, the fans, and her apartment. She’s forced to return to the childhood home—and the estranged sister—she’s tried hard to forget. But what Sunshine does amid the ashes of her own destruction may well save her life. In a world where celebrity is a careful construct, Hello, Sunshine is a compelling, funny, and evocative novel about what it means to live an authentic life in an inauthentic age. ~amazon.com

Review: Hello Sunshine is a story about falling from the pedestal of stardom into the abyss being ostracized. Sunshine is at the peak of her career, she's beloved by her millions of fans and is about ready to launch a Food Network show that she couldn't be more excited about. Her public persona is all about good, farm to table food but there's a secret; Sunshine can't even cook let alone put together a recipe. So when her carefully cultivated career comes tumbling down and everyone close to her bails, she has no where to go except back home where she's tried to escape from for years.

Except things at home have changed as well. Her older sister, isn't exactly happy to see her and in fact doesn't really want Sunshine around. Except within a short period of time Sunshine and her niece, Sammy have formed a pretty strong bond much to Rain's chagrin.

By the end of the novel, I'm not quite sure if Sunshine's learned her lesson but I think she's on the way based on some of her actions. For a while she keeps thinking that she can build herself up for fame again but maybe that should have never been her goal in the first place. I figured out the twist pretty quickly and was waiting for her to figure it out.

There were a few strings that weren't tied up in the story, which probably should have been but they weren't so important that they took away from the book. If you are looking for a quick read and a peek into foodie celebrity, Hello Sunshine is the book for you.

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Monday, December 4, 2017

Julie's Review: Perfectly Undone


Author: Jamie Raintree
Series: None
Publication Date: October 3, 2017
Publisher: Graydon House
Pages: 304
Obtained: publisher via Netgalley
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 3.5/5
Bottom Line: A bit predictable at times but has a great message
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Summary: Dr. Dylan Michels has worked hard for a perfect life, so when her longtime boyfriend, Cooper, gets down on one knee, it should be the most perfect moment of all. Then why does she say no? For too many years, Dylan's been living for her sister, who never got the chance to grow up. But her attempt to be the perfect daughter, perfect partner and perfect doctor hasn't been enough to silence the haunting guilt Dylan feels over her sister's death—and the role no one knows she played in it. Now Dylan must face her past if she and Cooper stand a chance at a future together. But when Cooper makes a startling confession of his own, can Dylan find the courage to define her own happiness before her life becomes perfectly undone? Set among the breezy days of a sultry Portland summer, Perfectly Undone is a deeply moving novel of family secrets, forgiveness and finding yourself in the most surprising of places. ~amazon.com  

Review: Perfectly Undone shows us that appearances aren’t always what they seem and this is true for Dylan and Cooper. On the outside they seem to have it all; great careers, great house, great relationship but nothing is perfect. Obviously, they are picture perfect but there are cracks. Dylan throws herself into her work because she's dedicated, loves what she does but she's also obsessed. When she gets passed over for a grant,she starts to lose her grip and question her path in life. How can she make a difference if she's not given the means to do so?

Dylan holds herself responsible for her sister’s death and believes that she can fix this wrong by dedicating herself to her work to help women. Of course she starts to crack under the pressure she’s put on herself. It's how she starts to pull herself together that the real story emerges. It is how we respond in trying times that show us what we are made of.  Dylan has always relied on other people to push her or to be her reason, it's time for her to learn to trust herself.

There are a few cliches that are weaved throughout the novel but if you can get over them, then it's worth it to find Dylan coming into her own.

Perfectly Undone is about letting go and forgiveness on a few different levels.

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Thursday, November 30, 2017

Julie's Review: Camino Island


Author: John Grisham
Series: None
Publication Date: June 6, 2017
Publisher: Doubleday
Pages: 304
Obtained: Local Library
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction, Mystery
Rating: 4/5
Bottom Line: An ode to book lovers with some mystery
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Summary: A gang of thieves stage a daring heist from a secure vault deep below Princeton University’s Firestone Library. Their loot is priceless, but Princeton has insured it for twenty-five million dollars. Bruce Cable owns a popular bookstore in the sleepy resort town of Santa Rosa on Camino Island in Florida. He makes his real money, though, as a prominent dealer in rare books. Very few people know that he occasionally dabbles in the black market of stolen books and manuscripts. Mercer Mann is a young novelist with a severe case of writer’s block who has recently been laid off from her teaching position. She is approached by an elegant, mysterious woman working for an even more mysterious company. A generous offer of money convinces Mercer to go undercover and infiltrate Bruce Cable’s circle of literary friends, ideally getting close enough to him to learn his secrets. But eventually Mercer learns far too much, and there’s trouble in paradise as only John Grisham can deliver it. ~amazon.com  

Review: Camino Island is a great novel for those of us who love books and a shout out to independent book stores. If you are expecting a fast-paced, thriller for this Grisham novel, you won't get it. Now, that doesn't mean there isn't action, there is, but it's more of a slow burn and a mystery more than a thriller. It's a case of "is he guilty, or is he not".  At times, I also wasn't sure who was fully trustworthy.

Mercer is young, out of work and in extreme debt due to her college tuition. She's got no prospective employers and is at the end of her time on campus with no next move. So when she gets a mysterious call with a very unique proposition, she really has no choice but to take the opportunity. Plus it takes her back to the place where the her fondest memories are of her childhood.

It doesn't take long for Mercer to endear herself to the locals since she's pretty much a local herself having spent most of her summers there as a kid. She starts to learn the personalities of the local writers and even gets advice even if it isn't necessarily requested. As she starts to get invited to book signings and dinners, things start to heat up for her. It's the fact that she's genuine that doesn't truly make anyone suspicious but it's not like she's really good at the spy trade. She's also a bit naive as to whom to trust and who to fall in bed with. I mean Elaine even clues her in about Bruce and she still falls for the charm. So whom is using whom?

I haven't read a Grisham book in a while but I was happy to get back to him with Camino Island. It was like putting on a pair of your most comfy pants and settling in for what you know will be a satisfying evening. While this isn't his typical legal thriller it is definitely still engaging and intriguing. I'm happy to know that I can return to his books and know I'm getting a great read.
 Plus he really does give props to the independent and rare book stores out there. So a little bit of an insiders look into the business side of books.

If you haven't read Grisham in a while,  Camino Island is a great way to spend some hours with one of our iconic authors.


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Friday, November 24, 2017

Julie's Review: UnSub


Author: Meg Gardiner
Series: UnSub #1
Publication Date: June 27, 2017
Publisher: Dutton
Pages: 368
Obtained: publisher via Netgalley
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance
Rating: 4.75/5
Bottom Line: Not for the faint of heart
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Summary: Caitlin Hendrix has been a Narcotics detective for six months when the killer at the heart of all her childhood nightmares reemerges: the Prophet. An UNSUB—what the FBI calls an unknown subject—the Prophet terrorized the Bay Area in the 1990s and nearly destroyed her father, the lead investigator on the case. The Prophet’s cryptic messages and mind games drove Detective Mack Hendrix to the brink of madness, and Mack’s failure to solve the series of ritualized murders—eleven seemingly unconnected victims left with the ancient sign for Mercury etched into their flesh—was the final nail in the coffin for a once promising career. Twenty years later, two bodies are found bearing the haunting signature of the Prophet. Caitlin Hendrix has never escaped the shadow of her father’s failure to protect their city. But now the ruthless madman is killing again and has set his sights on her, threatening to undermine the fragile barrier she rigidly maintains for her own protection, between relentless pursuit and dangerous obsession. Determined to decipher his twisted messages and stop the carnage, Caitlin ignores her father’s warnings as she draws closer to the killer with each new gruesome murder. Is it a copycat, or can this really be the same Prophet who haunted her childhood? Will Caitlin avoid repeating her father’s mistakes and redeem her family name, or will chasing the Prophet drag her and everyone she loves into the depths of the abyss? ~amazon.com  

Review: Meg Gardiner, is one of my favorite thriller writers and she doesn't disappoint with her latest, Unsub. Meg writes the most kick-ass, strong female leads that you'll read and yet they are so relatable.

It is no different with Caitlin, Cat. She's a fantastic Narcotics cop but she's always been haunted by the case that destroyed her father, the murders by a serial killer called the Prophet. Now, he's back and his murders are getting more frequent and more violent. Since her father was the lead detective 20 years ago, the current team is hoping that she'll be the conduit to getting him to open up about the case.

Caitlin allows herself to be consumed by the case and is close to losing herself. As she starts to piece together the previous murders, she begins to see a pattern but will she crack the code in time? Why has the Prophet zoned in on her? Why have the murders escalated and how they stop him?

This is a book that is fast-paced but it has a depth to it as well. If you are uncomfortable with getting into the mind of a killer, then you will want to stay away. I loved how Caitlin started coming into her own and then came out of her father's shadow. How she put all the pieces of the puzzle together to stop the killer. I'm very excited to see how Caitlin develops in the next book which is out in January!

I can't recommend Unsub enough. I can't do a detailed review because that would ruin the book. 😊😊😊

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Thursday, November 16, 2017

Julie's Review: Seven Days of Us


Author: Francesca Hornak
Series: None
Publication Date: October 17, 2017
Publisher: Berkley
Pages: 368
Obtained: publisher via Netgalley
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 3.75/5
Bottom Line: A family drama that lacks real drama
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Summary: It’s Christmas, and for the first time in years the entire Birch family will be under one roof. Even Emma and Andrew’s elder daughter—who is usually off saving the world—will be joining them at Weyfield Hall, their aging country estate. But Olivia, a doctor, is only coming home because she has to. Having just returned from treating an epidemic abroad, she’s been told she must stay in quarantine for a week…and so too should her family. For the next seven days, the Birches are locked down, cut off from the rest of humanity—and even decent Wi-Fi—and forced into each other’s orbits. Younger, unabashedly frivolous daughter Phoebe is fixated on her upcoming wedding, while Olivia deals with the culture shock of being immersed in first-world problems. As Andrew sequesters himself in his study writing scathing restaurant reviews and remembering his glory days as a war correspondent, Emma hides a secret that will turn the whole family upside down. In close proximity, not much can stay hidden for long, and as revelations and long-held tensions come to light, nothing is more shocking than the unexpected guest who’s about to arrive. ~amazon.com

Review: Seven Days of Us is a novel that most will find comfort in reading because it hits all the right buttons especially coming up on the holidays. I found that I expected much more than what I got but I still enjoyed it. I was looking for something a little more than typical family strife. The Birch family is an interesting clan and they all have their little quirks.

Emma, the matriarch, is hiding something from her family that will impact them all and it only adds to her typical frenetic personality. Andrew, the patriarch, has been living with secret for years and now he's going to have to own up to it in a big way. Olivia, the eldest, is the person to cause this quarantine because of her work in Liberia treating people with a deadly disease. Then there's Phoebe, she's the youngest and none to pleased about this quarantine. She just got engaged and she has a wedding to plan.

Each of them are self-absorbed in their own way and can't really see other's points of view. At times it's infuriating how disconnected all of them are to each other but then I'm sure that's how some families are with grown children.

For a family drama novel, I didn't feel that there was real drama. There were opportunities for there to be more of it but I felt it was all brushed under the rug or resolved too quickly. There weren't any real twists or turns and while yes it's not a suspense or thriller, sometimes you want something out of left field to happen in a family drama that isn't so cookie cutter.

I had high expectations for this one going in and while overall I did enjoy it, I felt there could have been a bit more depth to it. If you are in the mood for novels about family this season, then Seven Days of Us will fill that need.

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Monday, November 13, 2017

Julie's Review: The Bear and The Nightingale


Author: Katherine Arden
Series: Winternight Trilogy
Publication Date: January 10, 2017
Publisher: Del Rey
Pages: 336
Obtained: friend
Genre:  Fairy Tale, Fantasy
Rating: 3.75/5
Bottom Line: A gorgeously written novel that evokes a world of Russian Fairy Tales
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Summary: Winter lasts most of the year at the edge of the Russian wilderness, and in the long nights, Vasilisa and her siblings love to gather by the fire to listen to their nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, Vasya loves the story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon. Wise Russians fear him, for he claims unwary souls, and they honor the spirits that protect their homes from evil. Then Vasya’s widowed father brings home a new wife from Moscow. Fiercely devout, Vasya’s stepmother forbids her family from honoring their household spirits, but Vasya fears what this may bring. And indeed, misfortune begins to stalk the village. But Vasya’s stepmother only grows harsher, determined to remake the village to her liking and to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for marriage or a convent. As the village’s defenses weaken and evil from the forest creeps nearer, Vasilisa must call upon dangerous gifts she has long concealed—to protect her family from a threat sprung to life from her nurse’s most frightening tales. ~amazon.com

Review: The Bear and the Nightingale isn't really my usual book because it really does fall into the fantasy category even though in essence it's a Russian Fairy Tale. Having said that I'm glad my friend recommended it and sent it to me.

It is the story of family, love, history and of finding your own way. Vasya has been different from her siblings since day one but her mother told her father she would. Unfortunately, her mother isn't around to teach Vasya the ways of her ancestors. So, Vasya through her younger years and as she becomes older has to rely on herself.  Obviously because of this factor she has limited understanding and doesn't understand her place in the current struggle between the old ways and the church. It doesn't help that her step-mother has forbidden practicing the old ways which honored the spirits and protected the village.

Vasya needs to learn to trust herself and her instincts very early. She needs to learn that she is different and that she needs to be the one to protect her family. She will need to rebel against her father, step-father and the local priest. Vasya is a strong, independent heroine that will need to learn how to harness her powers because not everyone will understand.

Ms. Arden has done a fantastic job of creating a unique world that enraptures you from the very beginning. It is one that gets your imagination going and you can vividly see the forest that they live in.

While I did feel that some of the middle of the novel could have been edited down, I loved the climax and very much look forward to the next book, The Girl in the Tower, which is released in December.
If you are a fan of Harry Potter and/or The Lord of the Rings trilogy, you will want to check out this series.

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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Poll Results: Next Read

Thanks to those who voted last Friday!  The result is:



I've been looking forward to this one! Stay tuned for a review and the next poll!

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Monday, November 6, 2017

Julie's Review: Love and Other Consolation Prizes


Author: Jamie Ford
Series: None
Publication Date: September 12, 2016
Publisher: Ballatine
Pages: 320
Obtained: publisher via NetGalley
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Bottom Line: Another winner from Mr. Ford about finding your place in the world no matter your start
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Summary: For twelve-year-old Ernest Young, a charity student at a boarding school, the chance to go to the World’s Fair feels like a gift. But only once he’s there, amid the exotic exhibits, fireworks, and Ferris wheels, does he discover that he is the one who is actually the prize. The half-Chinese orphan is astounded to learn he will be raffled off—a healthy boy “to a good home.” The winning ticket belongs to the flamboyant madam of a high-class brothel, famous for educating her girls. There, Ernest becomes the new houseboy and befriends Maisie, the madam’s precocious daughter, and a bold scullery maid named Fahn. Their friendship and affection form the first real family Ernest has ever known—and against all odds, this new sporting life gives him the sense of home he’s always desired. But as the grande dame succumbs to an occupational hazard and their world of finery begins to crumble, all three must grapple with hope, ambition, and first love. Fifty years later, in the shadow of Seattle’s second World’s Fair, Ernest struggles to help his ailing wife reconcile who she once was with who she wanted to be, while trying to keep family secrets hidden from their grown-up daughters. Against a rich backdrop of post-Victorian vice, suffrage, and celebration, Love and Other Consolations is an enchanting tale about innocence and devotion—in a world where everything, and everyone, is for sale. ~amazon.com

 Review: Love & Other Consolation Prizes  covered a part of history that I wasn't aware of and I love when books do that. It is amazing that even in the early 1900s people were sold to be servants but I guess I shouldn't be so shocked. Ernest was an orphan after coming over from China and ends up in a home for boys with a benefactor who decides to auction him off  to the highest bidder during the 1909 AYP World's Fair. While the benefactor might not have been enthusiastic about the fact that the highest bidder was a Madam, it turned out to be the best thing for Ernest. It seems his destiny was set in motion on that boat from China.

As Ernest gets settled at Madam Flora's he learns where he's living and how they make their living. It is also where he falls in love with two very different girls but yet very similar. Both of them also love Ernest is a very true and pure sense. Both girls are destined to be strong women who succeed in what they do but one needs Ernest more than the other. I enjoyed that Ernest told his story to his daughter, JuJu, because she was researching the previous world's fair and found out that he had been the young man that was auctioned off. He was hesitant to tell his story because of the way it intertwined with their mother, Gracious. Gracious is in failing health and her memories come and go, she doesn't always remember Ernest but ever since JuJu mentioned the world's fair, she's been talking more about the past.

While most of the story was a bit predictable there were a couple twists and turns that I didn't see coming. I enjoyed the symbiotic relationship between Fahn, Maisie and Ernest. I'm fairly certain both girls knew the other one was in love with Ernest but they didn't fight over him and they didn't let it get in the way of their friendship.

I appreciate the amount of detail that Mr. Ford goes into for both time periods. Especially in earlier parts of the novel it felt that you were really there. I could hear the sounds and could picture the brothel. I could see the spectacles that Madam Flora put on for her clientele. Any author who can transport you to another time period, is well worth reading. Love & Other Consolation Prizes is well worth the read.

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Friday, November 3, 2017

Friday Fun

It's that time again, help Julie chose her read for the next week. You have until Sunday at Noon to cast your vote!! *You will need to view the Full Website in order to vote if viewing from mobile*

What Book is Julie's Next Read?

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Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Julie's Review: The Rules of Magic


Author: Alice Hoffman
Series: Practical Magic #0
Publication Date: October 10, 2017
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 384
Obtained: publisher via NetGalley
Genre:  Historical Fiction, Magical Realism
Rating: 5/5
Bottom Line: It's like meeting up with old friends
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Summary: For the Owens family, love is a curse that began in 1620, when Maria Owens was charged with witchery for loving the wrong man. Hundreds of years later, in New York City at the cusp of the sixties, when the whole world is about to change, Susanna Owens knows that her three children are dangerously unique. Difficult Franny, with skin as pale as milk and blood red hair, shy and beautiful Jet, who can read other people’s thoughts, and charismatic Vincent, who began looking for trouble on the day he could walk. From the start Susanna sets down rules for her children: No walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles, no books about magic. And most importantly, never, ever, fall in love. But when her children visit their Aunt Isabelle, in the small Massachusetts town where the Owens family has been blamed for everything that has ever gone wrong, they uncover family secrets and begin to understand the truth of who they are. Back in New York City each begins a risky journey as they try to escape the family curse. The Owens children cannot escape love even if they try, just as they cannot escape the pains of the human heart. The two beautiful sisters will grow up to be the revered, and sometimes feared, aunts in Practical Magic, while Vincent, their beloved brother, will leave an unexpected legacy. Thrilling and exquisite, real and fantastical, The Rules of Magic is a story about the power of love reminding us that the only remedy for being human is to be true to yourself. ~amazon.com  

Review: Before you dive into The Rules of Magic, you might as well carve out a few hours because you won't want to put it down. Also,  you don't have to have previous experience with the Owens' to thoroughly enjoy this novel. I loved how each of the Owens' siblings grew and changed but they always, always had each other and supported each other.

You have Franny who is the eldest, the most realistic and the most stern. You know she has a good heart but she's far too fearful of her family's legacy. As she begins to experience life it makes her harder and she puts her walls up to protect herself and those she loves. She's definitely the leader of the 3 of them and the one who might sacrifice the most for her siblings.

Jet is the one that everyone gravitates towards because she wears her emotions on her sleeve. She's the sensitive one. She's the one most likely to fall in love and not care what the family "curse" is. She wants to love and be loved. Jet is also the one, whom perhaps loses the most as well. She never seems to get over the loss of her love but maybe that was her destiny.

Vincent is the sibling that is most in-tune with their family legacy and gifts. He never denied who he was and he accepted it early on. While he appears to be aloof, he's sensitive like Jet but pragmatic like Franny. 

Usually when there's a cast of characters, I end up liking one over the others but in this case, I loved them all because they each had unique voices. I loved how they were always there for each other and while they might not have always agreed with each others choices, they were supportive.

What it really boils down to is that no matter what path you follow in life, always be true to who you are and what you are. Learning to accept yourself is the key to a life without remorse. I loved how Ms. Hoffman brought us to the Owens' we love so much from Practical Magic. It definitely makes me want to curl up with them again, plus have a new appreciation for Jet and Franny.

This is the perfect blend of magic, family, love and acceptance. If you are a fan of Alice Hoffman, then you won't want to miss this novel. If you've never read her, what are you waiting for?

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Friday, October 27, 2017

Julie's Review: The Child Finder


Author: Rene Denfeld
Series: None
Publication Date: September 20, 2016
Publisher: Harper
Pages: 288
Obtained: publisher
Genre:  Mystery, Suspense
Rating: 4/5
Bottom Line: A slow burn of a novel that will stay with you long after you close it
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Summary: Three years ago, Madison Culver disappeared when her family was choosing a Christmas tree in Oregon’s Skookum National Forest. She would be eight-years-old now—if she has survived. Desperate to find their beloved daughter, certain someone took her, the Culvers turn to Naomi, a private investigator with an uncanny talent for locating the lost and missing. Known to the police and a select group of parents as "the Child Finder," Naomi is their last hope. Naomi’s methodical search takes her deep into the icy, mysterious forest in the Pacific Northwest, and into her own fragmented past. She understands children like Madison because once upon a time, she was a lost girl, too. As Naomi relentlessly pursues and slowly uncovers the truth behind Madison’s disappearance, shards of a dark dream pierce the defenses that have protected her, reminding her of a terrible loss she feels but cannot remember. If she finds Madison, will Naomi ultimately unlock the secrets of her own life? Told in the alternating voices of Naomi and a deeply imaginative child, The Child Finder is a breathtaking, exquisitely rendered literary page-turner about redemption, the line between reality and memories and dreams, and the human capacity to survive. ~amazon.com

Review: The Child Finder is definitely a novel that is a slow burn because not only are you looking for a current child that is missing, but you are also peeling back the layers of Naomi and trying to figure her out as well. She searches for missing children because she herself is a missing child in some ways. There is something about this current case though, that has her memories becoming more vivid through her dreams than ever before. Will this be the key to unlocking her past?

As the stories weave in and out, we learn the hell that Madison has been through and pieces of Naomi's past start to creep back. It is Madison's story that is the most compelling though. How she creates an alternate life/person to protect the girl she was before. As a reader, you hurt for her and also realize that she's stronger than most kids. She's smart enough to learn to separate herself from the hell that she's living in.

There are parts of the story that will make you queasy and make you extremely angry. Yet, as the story begins to unfold you can only feel sorry for her captor because there is more to his story. Some how there is must more sinister history that Naomi is aware of as she begins to puzzle it together.

Naomi is a complex character. Her past is blank until she runs out into the strawberry fields to be rescued by the migrant workers. She feels drawn to save children who can't save themselves because she was able to save herself.  Her relationship with Mrs. Cottle and Jerome are her anchors throughout her life. Yet, she's still searching for something and unable to rest until she helps all the kids she can.

With the ending of the novel, I'm hoping that Ms. Denfeld brings Naomi back for another book that focuses on her search, trying to find her history.

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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Poll Results: Next Read

Thanks to those who voted last Friday!  The result is:



Stay tuned for a review and the next poll!


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Monday, October 23, 2017

Julie's Review: The Marriage Pact


Author: Michelle Redmond
Series: None
Publication Date: July 25, 2017
Publisher: Bantam
Pages: 432
Obtained: publisher via Netgalley
Genre:  Suspense, Psychological Thriller
Rating: 3/5
Bottom Line: Dragged on too long and ending fell flat for me
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Summary: Newlyweds Alice and Jake are a picture-perfect couple. Alice, once a singer in a well-known rock band, is now a successful lawyer. Jake is a partner in an up-and-coming psychology practice. Their life together holds endless possibilities. After receiving an enticing wedding gift from one of Alice’s prominent clients, they decide to join an exclusive and mysterious group known only as The Pact. The goal of The Pact seems simple: to keep marriages happy and intact. And most of its rules make sense. Always answer the phone when your spouse calls. Exchange thoughtful gifts monthly. Plan a trip together once per quarter. . . .Never mention The Pact to anyone. Alice and Jake are initially seduced by the glamorous parties, the sense of community, their widening social circle of like-minded couples. And then one of them breaks the rules. The young lovers are about to discover that for adherents to The Pact, membership, like marriage, is for life. And The Pact will go to any lengths to enforce that rule. For Jake and Alice, the marriage of their dreams is about to become their worst nightmare. ~amazon.com  

Review: Marriage Pact would be a really good action thriller movie with the right cast but as a novel the middle dragged a bit. I felt that it took a bit to long to get the crux of the story and then it ended abruptly. Not only that but I have to admit I wanted the ending to go the other way.

Saying all that, I enjoyed learning about Jake and Alice through Jake's eyes. Part of me thought that it was sweet that he wanted to marry her so that he wouldn't use her and then apart of me was kind of put off by it. As you get to know Jake it wasn't that he wanted to own her, it was that he loved her so much he didn't want to have a life without her. Alice was a bit more reserved with her devotion to Jake but as the book progresses, you see how much she loves Jake as well. The Pact organization was a bit like Fight Club, you don't talk about it. They are a very exclusive club designed to help couples succeed at marriage.

At first it seems like a bit of fun with the parties and the mystery but things go very weird quickly. There are rules, known as The Manual, that neither of them have read thoroughly. They find out very quickly that there is much they need to learn so they don't break the rules. Although, it is already too late for Alice, apparently she talks a bit too much.

Jake, being curious by nature, starts digging into the organization and isn't so sure that they have made the right decision. Of course, this leads them down a path that is cause for much running and discussion for them.

Ultimately, it was a fast-paced novel that perhaps could have been edited down a bit but it was a good ride. Also, my takeaway from this is, you don't sign anything to do with a secret organization, even though it sounds cool/exclusive.


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Friday, October 20, 2017

Friday Fun

I've been wanting to try some new stuff here on Girls Just Reading, so here's the first thing: Help me pick at one of my reads for next week. We will see the response and determine if this is something we do 2x a month or so.

What Should Julie Read Next?

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Monday, October 16, 2017

Julie's Review: Where The Light Falls


Author: Allison Pataki, Owen Pataki
Series: None
Publication Date: July 11, 2017
Publisher: The Dial Press
Pages: 384
Obtained: publisher via Netgalley
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Bottom Line: A wonderful novel about the French Revolution
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Summary: Three years after the storming of the Bastille, the streets of Paris are roiling with revolution. The citizens of France are enlivened by the ideals of liberty, equality, and fraternity. The monarchy of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette has been dismantled—with the help of the guillotine—and a new nation is rising in its place. Jean-Luc, an idealistic young lawyer, moves his wife and their infant son from a comfortable life in Marseille to Paris, in the hopes of joining the cause. André, the son of a denounced nobleman, has evaded execution by joining the new French army. Sophie, a young aristocratic widow, embarks on her own fight for independence against her powerful, vindictive uncle. As chaos threatens to undo the progress of the Revolution and the demand for justice breeds instability and paranoia, the lives of these compatriots become inextricably linked. Jean-Luc, André, and Sophie find themselves in a world where survival seems increasingly less likely—for themselves and, indeed, for the nation. Featuring cameos from legendary figures such as Robespierre, Louis XVI, and Thomas-Alexandre Dumas, Where the Light Falls is an epic and engrossing novel, moving from the streets and courtrooms of Paris to Napoleon’s epic march across the burning sands of Egypt. With vivid detail and imagery, the Patakis capture the hearts and minds of the citizens of France fighting for truth above all, and for their belief in a cause greater than themselves. ~amazon.com

Review: Where the Light Falls takes you on a ride through the dirty, backroom of the French Revolution. While people screamed for revolution and overthrew the crown to get it, you have to wonder who was truly benefiting from it? Were the people of France better off for it? Certainly not right away as there was even turmoil within the ranks of the leadership of it as they turned on each other. Ms. and Mr. Pataki introduce characters that will stay with me long after I have finished the novel. Each of them, Jean-Luc, Sophie and Andre are fighting their own personal revolutions.

Jean-Luc came to Paris with his wife and young son to create a better life for them and to serve the Revolution. He has great potential but is currently cataloging the belongings of nobility to give back to the people. Through his diligent work he is introduced to some of the most powerful men in France and given the opportunity to join their ranks. Something about that meeting turns him off and he instead goes up against them. I admired Jean-Luc, he took the tougher path and stuck by his beliefs in the fact that all people deserved Justice, even if the forces were against you. Believe me, he made some powerful enemies but never once did he back down. He believed that what he was doing was right.

Andre Valiere is a Captain in the French Army serving his country valiantly at Valmy where his troops helped to defeat the Prussians. Although for some it doesn't matter because he's of noble blood. Andre spends a great many years in love with Sophie without being able to truly be with her due to being gone and then her Uncle keeping them apart. He even has her thrown in jail to keep them apart.

What I loved about these 3 is that they never gave up, they persisted even when things looked bleak. What it also showed me is that sometimes the people who lead the revolution are no better than the people who are in power. What are their motives? What do they hope to gain or what's in it for them? No one is every fully altruistic, even if they initially start out that way.

If you are looking for a novel that gives a behind the scenes look at the French Revolution, then look no further than Where the Light Falls.


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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Julie's Review: The Blackbird Season


Author: Kate Moretti
Series: None
Publication Date: September 26, 2017
Publisher: Atria
Pages: 352
Obtained: Friend
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction,Mystery
Rating: 4.5/5
Bottom Line: Small town life and how rumors + poor decisions = ruined lives
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Summary: Known for novels featuring “great pacing and true surprises” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) and “nerve-shattering suspense” (Heather Gudenkauf, New York Time bestselling author), New York Times bestselling author Kate Moretti’s latest is the story of a scandal-torn Pennsylvania town and the aftermath of a troubled girl gone missing. “Where did they come from? Why did they fall? The question would be asked a thousand times… Until, of course, more important question arose, at which time everyone promptly forgot that a thousand birds fell on the town of Mount Oanoke at all.” In a quiet Pennsylvania town, a thousand dead starlings fall onto a high school baseball field, unleashing a horrifying and unexpected chain of events that will rock the close-knit community. Beloved baseball coach and teacher Nate Winters and his wife, Alecia, are well respected throughout town. That is, until one of the many reporters investigating the bizarre bird phenomenon catches Nate embracing a wayward student, Lucia Hamm, in front of a sleazy motel. Lucia soon buoys the scandal by claiming that she and Nate are engaged in an affair, throwing the town into an uproar…and leaving Alecia to wonder if her husband has a second life. And when Lucia suddenly disappears, the police only to have one suspect: Nate. Nate’s coworker and sole supporter, Bridget Harris, Lucia’s creative writing teacher, is determined to prove his innocence. She has Lucia’s class journal, and while some of the entries appear particularly damning to Nate’s case, others just don’t add up. Bridget knows the key to Nate’s exoneration and the truth of Lucia’s disappearance lie within the walls of the school and in the pages of that journal. ~amazon.com

Review: Blackbird Season is a novel where it's true intent comes out during the final pages of the novel. You are going in one direction the entire novel until you aren't and it all makes sense. It wasn't a ploy but a way of showing the reader how only knowing one part of a story skews our entire view.

I'm not entirely sure if there were many truly likable characters in the novel but they each played their part. While Nate was a solid teacher and coach, he inserted himself into the lives of his students where perhaps he shouldn't have with long-lasting consequences. He was more engaged with the lives of his student than he was with his son and wife. For someone looking in from the outside, it seemed like he was trying to run away from the hard job of raising a son with autism and at times I felt that he wanted to be a teen again. He enjoyed basking in the glory of his baseball players.

Alecia, Nate's wife, is the one who runs their son's life which includes multiple therapy sessions and working with him constantly throughout the day. So when Nate is late or not helping, she gets angry. She used to be social and she used to be fun but now she feels exhausted all the time. Gabe is her life and her focus, as it is for most moms, but should it be? Maybe Nate is feeling resentful because all of her attention is focused on Gabe. One thing I did notice is that even while Nate was under suspicion of having an affair and then of making Lucia go missing, not once did Ms. Moretti have Alecia blame herself. His actions are his responsibility not hers and it was refreshing.

While I want to say that I saw both sides of the coin on the subject matter, I was definitely more Team Alicia than Team Nate. The whole time I felt that Nate didn't understand that while a bold line wasn't crossed, a smaller line was definitely ran over. I never felt that he owned up to his part in this whole entire mess. While I appreciated that Bridget stood by him and really was the only one who believed him; Nate himself didn't do much to help plead his case. He actually looked and acted guilty most of the time.

I enjoyed how Ms. Moretti led you down one trail but then veered off into the woods but it wasn't like it was out of left field either. Once all is revealed you see how she laid the ground work for it.
I highly recommend  Blackbird Season for those who are fans of mysteries.


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Friday, October 6, 2017

Julie's Review: The Crows of Beara


Author: Julie Christine Johnson
Series: None
Publication Date: September 1, 2017
Publisher: Ashland Creek Press
Pages: 402
Obtained: Author
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Bottom Line: A wonderful story of losing yourself and then finding yourself again
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Summary: When Annie Crowe travels from Seattle to a small Irish village to promote a new copper mine, her public relations career is hanging in the balance. Struggling to overcome her troubled past and a failing marriage, Annie is eager for a chance to rebuild her life. Yet when she arrives on the remote Beara Peninsula, Annie learns that the mine would encroach on the nesting ground of an endangered bird, the Red-billed Chough, and many in the community are fiercely protective of this wild place. Among them is Daniel Savage, a local artist battling demons of his own, who has been recruited to help block the mine. Despite their differences, Annie and Daniel find themselves drawn toward each other, and, inexplicably, they begin to hear the same voice--a strange, distant whisper of Gaelic, like sorrow blowing in the wind. Guided by ancient mythology and challenged by modern problems, Annie must confront the half-truths she has been sent to spread and the lies she has been telling herself. Most of all, she must open her heart to the healing power of this rugged land and its people. Beautifully crafted with environmental themes, a lyrical Irish setting, and a touch of magical realism, The Crows of Beara is a breathtaking novel of how the nature of place encompasses everything that we are. ~amazon.com  

Review: The Crows of Beara is about losing yourself, becoming some one you don't recognize, to gaining back the control in your life. Annie is at the end of her rope with her marriage and her job. Her life has been derailed for some time and this trip to Ireland for work is her way of trying to get back on track. Annie has been lost for so long that she's not sure where to start and how to start.

Her mission while in Ireland is to convince the locals that the jobs the mine would bring out weighs the cost to the environment around them. She partners with the CEO of the mine to outline what their agenda and strategy is going forward. Except there's something a bit unsettling about how James feels completely comfortable with her right from the beginning.

As she's hiking along the Beara Peninsula, she feels drawn to the land and to what it is trying to say to her. The longer she's there the more time she spends on it, the more she feels the pull of it. She knows this job could end her career but she's not so sure any more that its a bad thing.

Annie is a character that you cheer for, that you want her to find her way. You know she's going to stumble but can she recover from that bump in the road.  You want her to forgive herself for her past mistakes and move on from them. Self-loathing will get her no where.

What I love about Ms. Johnson's writing is that she adds a mystical bend to the plot that adds mystery and intrigue into it. In this case it's the legend of the Old Hag of Beara and the song that sings to both Annie and Danny. It is about how a place can heal you and help you find who you are meant to be. Home isn't always a place but a feeling and often the people you surround yourself with as well.

If you love books about finding yourself and how sometimes you need to have setbacks to put you on the right path, then pick up The Crows of Beara.


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Thursday, September 28, 2017

Julie's Review: The Other Girl


Author: Erica Spindler
Series: None
Publication Date: August 22, 2017
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages: 256
Obtained: publisher via NetGalley
Genre:  Suspense, Crime
Rating: 4/5
Bottom Line: A great crime/suspense novel that doesn't rely on the unreliable narrator
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Summary: Officer Miranda Rader of the Harmony, Louisiana PD is known for her honesty, integrity, and steady hand in a crisis―but that wasn’t always so. Miranda comes from the town of Jasper, a place about the size of a good spit on a hot day, and her side of the tracks was the wrong one. She’s worked hard to earn the respect of her coworkers and the community. When Miranda and her partner are called to investigate the murder of one of the town’s most beloved college professors, they’re unprepared for the brutality of the scene. This murder is unlike any they’ve ever investigated, and just when Miranda thinks she’s seen the worst of it, she finds a piece of evidence that chills her to the core: a faded newspaper clipping about that terrible night fifteen years ago. The night she’d buried, along with her past and the girl she’d been back then. Until now that grave had stayed sealed…except for those times, in the deepest part of the night, when the nightmares came: of a crime no one believed happened and the screams of the girl they believed didn’t exist. Then another man turns up dead, this one a retired cop. Not just any cop―the one who took her statement that night. Two murders, two very different men, two killings that on the surface had nothing in common―except Miranda. ~amazon.com  

Review: The Other Girl is story that spins how our past can come back to haunt us and how it can effect our present lives. We are told the story of a recent murder through Detective Miranda Rader and how she's been tapped to lead the investigation. Miranda is the top detective in the force but when she see the clipping from an article about a crime that happened years ago, she starts to make some stupid mistakes.

Miranda starts to question how the pieces of this murder fit into the traumatic events in her past. Why has she been pulled into this? What is she going to do about it? Before she can learn any more, she's pulled off the case. Which lends itself to even more suspicion? If she's a strong detective, why pull her off?

Ms. Spindler weaves a quick moving suspense novel that will have you quickly turning the pages. You root for Miranda (and her with Jake). You want her to figure out why this is all coming down on her 15 years later. What ties her to the victim? As a woman you want her to stuff it to the old boys network and prove that the victim, while yes was murdered, that maybe he wasn't the person he wanted people to believe.

Fans of a crime/suspense novel won't want to miss this one. I will be checking out some of her other suspense novels.


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Friday, September 22, 2017

Julie's Review: Best Day Ever


Author: Kaira Rouda
Series: None
Publication Date: September 19, 2017
Publisher: Graydon House
Pages: 368
Obtained: GetRedPR
Genre:  Psychological Thriller
Rating: 4.5/5
Bottom Line: A fantastic novel in the domestic thriller genre
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Summary: Paul Strom has the perfect life: a glittering career as an advertising executive, a beautiful wife, two healthy boys and a big house in a wealthy suburb. And he’s the perfect husband: breadwinner, protector, provider. That’s why he’s planned a romantic weekend for his wife, Mia, at their lake house, just the two of them. And he’s promised today will be the best day ever. But as Paul and Mia drive out of the city and toward the countryside, a spike of tension begins to wedge itself between them and doubts start to arise. How much do they trust each other? And how perfect is their marriage, or any marriage, really? Forcing us to ask ourselves just how well we know those who are closest to us, Best Day Ever crackles with dark energy, spinning ever tighter toward its shocking conclusion. ~amazon.com  

Review:If you aren't keen on unreliable narrators, then you might want to skip Best Day Ever
BUT you'll be making a huge mistake. HUGE. Paul Strom is successful, he's got a great career, wife, kids, the whole American dream. He's is literally living the dream. As Paul begins to tell us the story of how this is going to be the "Best Day Ever" you start to understand that maybe he's not telling you everything you need to know. He's keeping his cards close to his chest. He's only going to tell us what he wants us to know and when.

We see his wife and his boys through his eyes. How perfect his boys are and how his wife is so beautiful but something is amiss. Something doesn't feel right very early in the novel with Paul. He's off. He doesn't seem to have a grip on reality. It's clear that while he might think that this will be the "Best Day Ever" it's for a very different reason than what his wife thinks.

As the book unravels, so does Paul. His shiny demeanor begins to show kinks and dents. He frankly, starts to lose his shit. Mia isn't as complacent as you first think she is. She's not as meek as the reader thinks or certainly as Paul thinks. You keep hoping that something is going to happen where Paul realizes he isn't so smart but he's a narcissistic psychopath, so really that's not going to happen.

At a certain point in the novel you will give up everything you are doing or need to do to finish the book and you will know when that happens.

I've read a lot of books in this domestic suspense recently and Ms. Rouda's entry in it is superb. It reminds me a lot of Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris but definitely not the same. If you are into this sub-genre of psychological thrillers then you should pick this one up post haste.



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Thursday, September 21, 2017

Julie's Review: Caroline: Little House, Revisited


Author: Sarah Miller
Series: None
Publication Date: September 19, 2017
Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 384
Obtained: publisher via Edelweiss+
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Rating: 3.75/5
Bottom Line: A fascinating look at Ma from Little House on the Prairie fame
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Summary: In this novel authorized by the Little House estate, Sarah Miller vividly recreates the beauty, hardship, and joys of the frontier in a dazzling work of historical fiction, a captivating story that illuminates one courageous, resilient, and loving pioneer woman as never before—Caroline Ingalls, "Ma" in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s beloved Little House books. In the frigid days of February, 1870, Caroline Ingalls and her family leave the familiar comforts of the Big Woods of Wisconsin and the warm bosom of her family, for a new life in Kansas Indian Territory. Packing what they can carry in their wagon, Caroline, her husband Charles, and their little girls, Mary and Laura, head west to settle in a beautiful, unpredictable land full of promise and peril. The pioneer life is a hard one, especially for a pregnant woman with no friends or kin to turn to for comfort or help. The burden of work must be shouldered alone, sickness tended without the aid of doctors, and babies birthed without the accustomed hands of mothers or sisters. But Caroline’s new world is also full of tender joys. In adapting to this strange new place and transforming a rough log house built by Charles’ hands into a home, Caroline must draw on untapped wells of strength she does not know she possesses. For more than eighty years, generations of readers have been enchanted by the adventures of the American frontier’s most famous child, Laura Ingalls Wilder, in the Little House books. Now, that familiar story is retold in this captivating tale of family, fidelity, hardship, love, and survival that vividly reimagines our past. ~amazon.com  

Review: First of all, I would have never made it as a Pioneer woman. So I have much respect for everything they had to do to keep their families alive and well as documented in Caroline: Little House, Revisited.

Caroline Ingalls is a marvel but even more so is her marriage to Charles. He treated her like an equal when I'm pretty sure men in the time didn't always share that view. He was head over heels for her and she with him. He respected her opinion and valued it. She knew what was expected of her but it didn't stop her from wanting a bit more than what was in front of her.

While Caroline knew that leaving her comfort zone with her family to lean on and help. Not to mention when it come to working the farm, she knew it would be more difficult for them to manage on their own. She would need to help more while also tending to the 2 girls and the new baby on the way.

There are subject matters that aren't easy to read about in the book but are typical of that time period. Caroline has a huge distrust and bigotry towards Native Americans. I can see why she was scared at certain points but really they were being pushed off their land. I'm not sure if she understood the magnitude of that decision.

It is obvious that Ms. Miller did her research on Caroline and the time period. It shows in the writing of the details. At times it feels that you are in the wagon or on the plains with them. Ms. Miller chose to focus on the period of time in the Ingalls' lives that moved them from Wisconsin to Kansas instead of her entire life.

If you are a fan of the Little House House series, then you won't want to miss Caroline: Little House, Revisited. It made me want to go pull out my daughter's books again.

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Monday, September 11, 2017

Julie's Review: The Light We Lost


Author: Jill Santopolo
Series: None
Publication Date: May 9, 2017
Publisher: Putnam
Pages: 336
Obtained: Library
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction, Contemporary Romance
Rating: 5/5
Bottom Line: Epic
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Summary: He was the first person to inspire her, to move her, to truly understand her. Was he meant to be the last? Lucy is faced with a life-altering choice. But before she can make her decision, she must start her story—their story—at the very beginning. Lucy and Gabe meet as seniors at Columbia University on a day that changes both of their lives forever. Together, they decide they want their lives to mean something, to matter. When they meet again a year later, it seems fated—perhaps they’ll find life’s meaning in each other. But then Gabe becomes a photojournalist assigned to the Middle East and Lucy pursues a career in New York. What follows is a thirteen-year journey of dreams, desires, jealousies, betrayals, and, ultimately, of love. Was it fate that brought them together? Is it choice that has kept them away? Their journey takes Lucy and Gabe continents apart, but never out of each other’s hearts. This devastatingly romantic debut novel about the enduring power of first love, with a shocking, unforgettable ending, is Love Story for a new generation. ~amazon.com  

Review: Drop everything and go pick up Light We Lost. You will cry, you will laugh, your heart will rejoice and your heart will break. This is one of those books that will make you fall in love with love. The story of Gabe and Lucy is epic. Their love is hot but never fades away. Somehow, someway they keep coming back to each other throughout various stages of their lives. Both of them are young when they meet each other on 9/11/2001 and it is a date that will forever keep them connected. Lucy and Gabe are have a connection from the first time they meet but certain circumstances exist that don't allow them to be together until fate brings them together a couple years later. Both of them are passionate people which helps to ignite their love for each other. Sometimes being passionate can mean restlessness as you try to figure out your life's path. Decisions always change the path of your life but sometimes it changes someone else's path as well. Gabe and Lucy share everything and are always encouraging each other with their careers. He never belittles her career or minds that she is career focused. It isn't until Gabe's decision about his career will ultimately be the demise of their relationship.

Neither Lucy or Gabe are perfect, they are both far from it but together they really are yin and yang. They compliment each other like good couples should. As with life, it moves on and both of them do in their own ways but yet they still orbit around each other, maintaining contact via email/text and occasionally seeing each other. We see the story from Lucy's view point and I do kind of wonder what Gabe's point of view would be if she had chosen to tell the story from both perspectives. Lucy doesn't excuse her behavior in some ways and she doesn't ask us to forgive her choices; after all who are we to judge her? What would we do if given the same choices. I think it is possible to love and be in love with 2 vastly different people at the same time. Lucy learns things from Darren that she would have never learned by being with Gabe. Gabe though was her star and her center; how do you compete with that? I think it's a good thing that Darren never knew there was a competition going on in Lucy's mind.

I loved what Lucy's mom said to her on her wedding day, something to the effect of a relationship ebbs and flows, sometimes you will be the one who loves your significant other more and sometimes you will be the one who gets more love. This is so true and it's how you make it through these different times that define you as a couple.

I really feel that Light We Lost is a book that you need to read for yourself. My review will not do it justice. Ms. Santopolo did an excellent job of capturing first love,y young love, marriage and the fact that sometimes there's someone your history is always linked to no matter how hard you try to disconnect yourself from them.

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Thursday, September 7, 2017

Julie's Review: Every Last Lie


Author: Mary Kubica
Series: None
Publication Date: June 27, 2017
Publisher: Park Row Books
Pages: 336
Obtained: publisher via Netgalley
Genre:  Mystery, Suspense
Rating: 3.5/5
Bottom Line: A quick paced novel about losing grip on reality and finding the way back
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Library
Summary: Clara Solberg's world shatters when her husband and their four-year-old daughter are in a car crash, killing Nick while Maisie is remarkably unharmed. The crash is ruled an accident…until the coming days, when Maisie starts having night terrors that make Clara question what really happened on that fateful afternoon. Tormented by grief and her obsession that Nick's death was far more than just an accident, Clara is plunged into a desperate hunt for the truth. Who would have wanted Nick dead? And, more important, why? Clara will stop at nothing to find out—and the truth is only the beginning of this twisted tale of secrets and deceit. Told in the alternating perspectives of Clara's investigation and Nick's last months leading up to the crash, master of suspense Mary Kubica weaves her most chilling thriller to date—one that explores the dark recesses of a mind plagued by grief and shows that some secrets might be better left buried. ~amazon.com  

Review: Every Last Lie is a novel that will keep you turning the pages to find out what exactly happened to Nick. Was the accident really his fault? Did someone run him off the road? Who is this bad man that their 4 year old, Maisie, keeps having nightmares about?

Honestly, I put myself in Clara's shoes for the entire book and I felt horrible for her. She's had no sleep since 6 months on due to the size of the baby and how he was sitting, so that's enough to make someone go a bit crazy plus she's days home with the baby and her husband died in a horrific accident. She's pretty much barely functioning, although sometimes I didn't think she was functioning at all.

As Maisie starts to have nightmares about the "bad man", Clara clings to this as evidence of foul play and that her husband wasn't truly responsible for his own death. Some one was after her husband, but who? Why? Her husband was a likable guy. We are also told the events leading up to the accident from Nick's POV.

It is evident that he loves and adores his wife, daughter and unborn child but other than that, he's not really a stand up guy. He's one of those people who have trouble living in reality and living beyond his means. He took on too much with the house that needed renovating and then opening his own practice. He wanted to keep up with the Jones' without being able to do so. He makes poor decisions that ultimately lead to more poor decisions. He never lets Clara in on it, so he takes all his problems to the grave.

It isn't until the end of the novel that you feel that Clara is finally starting to understand things clearly and yet you wonder if she'll ever fully recover from the issues that Nick's death dealt her.

I really enjoyed Every Last Lie especially with a good twist at the end. If you are looking for a new thriller/suspense author and you haven't read Ms. Kubica, then her back-list is ready for you to read.


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